Manchester United started off their pre-season with a 1-0 win over Club América in the International Champions Cup, with the Old Trafford club looking to retain what they won last season when they beat Liverpool at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami. The victory was not an easy one with the Mexican side pushing hard to challenge United, but failing to put enough pressure on them to find an equaliser. It was Morgan Schneiderlin who broke the deadlock after just five minutes, heading the winning goal, which was assisted by Juan Mata.United manager Louis van Gaal fielded two different teams, only wanting each play to play for a maximum of 45 minutes.
David De Gea and Antonio Valencia were absent through injury, albeit minor and both Sean Goss and Marouane Fellaini were not involved as each team is only allowed to name a 22-man squad, with United taking 26 players out on tour to the United States of America. Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay made their club debuts in the first half, with Bastian Schweinsteiger making his in the second half of the match. Because of the two different teams, two players will be chosen as Man of the Match, one from each half.
First half Man of the Match: Morgan Schneiderlin
The French midfielder, who was announced by the club as a summer signing just before the squad embarked on their pre-season tour on Monday afternoon, put in a decent debut performance for United against the Mexican side. Schneiderlin is a midfielder that United needed to shore up their midfield, especially in the defensive area as during the past season, injury to Michael Carrick seemed to cause more problems for United and with the lack of depth in the midfield, Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera were often utilised out of their favoured positions, costing United during many matches.
Schneiderlin shielded the defence well at times, stopping Club América from breaking through and causing United’s lacklustre defence problems. The Frenchman scored the only goal of the match after Juan Mata crossed the ball into the box and Schneiderlin headed the ball, which rose over the keeper, bouncing into the net with an onrushing Phil Jones there to ensure the goal was scored. During his 45 minute debut, Schneiderlin showed the class he has and the fact that he will be a big hit at Old Trafford this season, especially in the European matches. It was only a pre-season match, but with it being his debut, he will have wanted to set a good impression with his manager and his team-mates.
Second half Man of the Match: Andreas Pereira
In the second half, Louis van Gaal fielded a more youthful XI with Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Adnan Januzaj, James Wilson, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett, with the additions of Jonny Evans, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ander Herrera, Anders Lindegaard and Chris Smalling making up for the lack of experience. Andreas Pereira was my Man of the Match for the second half. After making it to the FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand, being beaten by Serbia, Pereira made a stake for a claim to a place in the first team next season. Signing a new contract at the end of the season was a relief for many, as the young Belgian, who plays for Brazil at international level has bags of talent.
Almost from the start of the first half, Pereira was raring to go, hoping to double United’s lead against the Mexican side. The Belgian-born attacking midfielder looked sharp, showing his skills, putting in some great crosses for his team-mates. Pereira had a shot on goal, albeit from an angle, which beat the goalkeeper and defence, but was wide of the target, which was unfortunate. I am sure Pereira will be given some more chances during the pre-season tour, especially in the next match, which is against San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday evening (early hours of Wednesday morning in the UK). The come the tougher matches against Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, which could be a test for Pereira, should he be given a chance.